Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The theatre, the theatre, what's happened to the theatre?

I have been meaning to write for a while about going to see Tamburlaine and how doing theatre has made me bad at watching theatre. It's true. Granted, part of the problem was that I didn't really care about the plot of Tamburlaine, but I was also completely distracted by the production of it. For one thing, the theatre itself is beautiful, and they used the back wall as part of the set-- which I love, so sometimes I sort of stared at it for a while.

And then there were the costumes. They were ridiculous. They were lavish, and there seemed to be hundreds of them. I can't explain them; I was in total awe.

There were also times that I just looked up into the fly space to see the lights. Or tried to figure out how they built the set pieces. Or worried that one was going to collapse. The point is that I spent a lot of time not watching the play, because I was watching all the other parts that you're just supposed to experience. And I love it--glimpsing the movement in the wings, seeing the traps open and close, watching the actors set the brakes on the rolling pieces.

I also get major theatre deja vu. The set piece that I thought was going to collapse? It was the cart from Mother Courage. I'm not kidding. All I could think of was the day the cart went missing and then turned up completely disassembled.

And then there was this scene in which Tamburlaine and his men are preparing to stage their attack on some feckless civilization, and they represented tents with banners that were unfurled along the back wall. Except that one of them caught on something, and stayed wonky for the rest of the scene-- it was the American flag from Assassins.

If you have no idea what those two paragraphs mean, it's okay; they are a select few who have been involved the shitstorm that so frequently was the Yale Dramat. But it definitely tinted the lens through which I see theatre.

In the entry I'm going to post approximately 10 minutes from now, I offer a window into what exactly I mean by 'shitstorm.' It's not the Dramat, but it is one of the finest moments of my Yale theatre career.Link

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